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Thread: Network experts - please point me in the right direction

  1. #1
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    Network experts - please point me in the right direction

    I'm doing a non-automotive project for my glider club to install an automated weather observation station that can be accessed on the internet. The location of the station has no internet access, but there is access about 1,000 feet away. I plan to connect to that location using a cantenna. That part seems pretty straightforward.

    What I need to know concerns the other end. The internet access exists at the National Soaring Musuem, a non-profit that has a reasonably simple network in place. They don't have full time IT folks, so part of the setup is going to be my responsibility and the more I know before I do it, the better off I'll be.

    As far as I can tell, there is a satellite antenna that provides a Hughes net internet connection. This runs into the modem and the modem runs into a switch. There are a couple of WiFi/wired routers connected to that.

    I've got a WRT-54G WiFi router that will connect to the cantenna on the roof of the museum. I've set the router to be a bridge rather than standalone router and I've changed its IP to be something different from the standard 192.168.1.1.

    How will I find it on the network so I can get the computer on the other end working? Is there usually some kind of web interface for the switch that allows you to do this?

    I think it's sort of straighforward, but network stuff gets complicated awfully quick.

    I thought I'd first try to connect the router to the switch, then plug a laptop into the router to confirm it is working. After that, I can try wireless and if successful, use the cantenna to transmit the signal over the longer distance.

    The people that run the museum are nice, but have zero clue about the particulars of the network. It's not clear to me that the people they had set it up for them still work there. Anyhow, the more I know, the better off I'll be when it comes time to connect everything.

    Any advice on how to set up or resources to check out ahead of time are appreciated.
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    have you installed dd-wrt on the router? With some routers, you can set it up as a repeating bridge, find the wifi ssid, and connect to it. this is what you want to do right?
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  3. #3
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    First, research the difference between a router and switch, you've confused the two here several times.

    Basically heres what needs to happen. First, when doing all this forget about the configuration utility that came on the cd for the WRT54G. Use the web interface. It's much more powerful.

    Now figure out the network IP address structure at the facility. To do this, plug your laptop into the switch there. Look at the ip address your laptop was given by DHCP. It will look something like aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd. Now google for a program called Angry IP Scanner. Have it scan the network from aaa.bbb.ccc.1 to aaa.bbb.ccc.255. Pick an unused address that is far from its closest address. For example, aaa.bbb.ccc.250 should be available.

    Now plug your laptop into the WR5T4G and access its web interface. You can access it by going into a web browser and typing the WR5T4G's IP address as the url. First, turn off DHCP, also turn off routing.

    Now plug the WR5T4G into the switch.
    Now plug your laptop into the switch.

    If all went well, you should be able to access the WR5T4G by the ip address you gave it.

    Set the SSID of the wireless network. I would also encourage you to enable some sort of security. It may be logical to change the wireless channel to a channel far away from the channel used inside the facility. Ex. if they use channel six, use channel 1 or 11. This will minimize any interference.

    Now on the weather station end, you should pick up a wireless network that goes by the SSID you gave the WRT54G.

    To improve range, consider checking out the DD-WRT firmware for the WRT54G. You can increase the wireless output levels to levels which are less than legal. That will significantly improve the range and reliability.
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    Some questions that probably need to be answered:

    1. How is the data from the weather station accessed? Do clients connect to a service (www, ftp, telnet etc) on the station or does it connect to someplace on the internet and transfer data?
    2. Does Hughesnet support fixed IP addresses and network services originating at customer locations?
    3. Where is the public address for this network presented (an address other than 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x). Is it the modem itself, or one of the other routers already connected to the network?
    4. How much data is presented and how often is it accessed? Would it make more sense to
    ship the data periodically to another location on the internet and serve it from there?

    Just some things to consider as you move forward.

    VegasGuy

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    just to add to the mayhem--

    as a camera company tech, i can say that hughsnet does not support enough upload speed to stream camera footage-- so depending on how much data your sending, or how many are connecting at the same time, that could become a huge issue

    also, check out trango networks-a little pricey, but well worth it-- i have used their wireless line-of-sight internet extensions-- most are easy to setup, and are mostly trouble free(they can take a little while to aim correctly), and can stream video data at a decent speed.
    http://www.trangobroadband.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasGuy View Post
    Some questions that probably need to be answered:

    1. How is the data from the weather station accessed? Do clients connect to a service (www, ftp, telnet etc) on the station or does it connect to someplace on the internet and transfer data?
    2. Does Hughesnet support fixed IP addresses and network services originating at customer locations?
    3. Where is the public address for this network presented (an address other than 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x). Is it the modem itself, or one of the other routers already connected to the network?
    4. How much data is presented and how often is it accessed? Would it make more sense to
    ship the data periodically to another location on the internet and serve it from there?

    Just some things to consider as you move forward.

    VegasGuy
    Thanks for all of the inputs. I knew someone here would be able to help.

    1. Weather info is uploaded by FTP to a server on the net and also to wunderground.
    2. Don't know if Hughesnet supports fixed ip addresses.
    3. Not sure. There are at least 2 WiFi routers that are on the network that can be connected to. I don't want to mess with those. I'd rather add a third one. If it breaks or has an issue, we can simply take it off the network without affecting anything else.
    4. The data is shipped periodically. I've currently got it set at 5 minute intervals and yes, it serves up from a different server than the one the weather station is on.

    Also, the webcam only takes a single still photo and uploads it as a jpg. Very small. Don't want to overload the bandwidth of the net connection!
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    Thanks for all of the inputs. I knew someone here would be able to help.

    1. Weather info is uploaded by FTP to a server on the net and also to wunderground.
    2. Don't know if Hughesnet supports fixed ip addresses.
    3. Not sure. There are at least 2 WiFi routers that are on the network that can be connected to. I don't want to mess with those. I'd rather add a third one. If it breaks or has an issue, we can simply take it off the network without affecting anything else.
    4. The data is shipped periodically. I've currently got it set at 5 minute intervals and yes, it serves up from a different server than the one the weather station is on.

    Also, the webcam only takes a single still photo and uploads it as a jpg. Very small. Don't want to overload the bandwidth of the net connection!

    It sounds to me like the Hughsnet modem acts as a DHCP server for the local network and the 2 wifi routers are getting their WAN address from the modem. You should be able to do the same thing with your router.

    If the weather station is uploading data via FTP to another server, I think you're all set. You'll need to verify that you can see the internet from the weather station and if so, its then just a matter of configuring the station with the correct default gateway and ftp server addresses. Since you're not sending much data, I think the available uplink bandwidth will not be too much of a problem.

    Cheers!

    VegasGuy

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